Experts Urge Healthy Summer Habits for KY Kids/Public News Service

As Kentucky students enter the unofficial start of summer this weekend, child advocates are urging families to prioritize physical activity, eat healthy foods, stay on top of vaccines, and find positive ways to cope with stress and emotions. to go.

Ben Chandler, executive director of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said the group’s nationwide campaign, called “High Five for Health,” aims to help kids get back to learning in the fall.

“High Five for Health is a recipe for whole body and mind health,” he said, “and we think that if young people follow this recipe, they are much more likely to have a successful school year. on the road to a successful life.”

Chandler urged parents to schedule their kids’ summer doctor’s appointments, wellness visits and vaccination updates before school starts in August. According to state data, 23% of children ages 5 to 11 and nearly half of children ages 12 to 15 have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Jim Tackett, director of the Healthy Schools Project at the Kentucky Department of Education, which funded the campaign, said he hopes families can have honest conversations in the coming weeks about how to stay active and engaged this summer, and how many hours they can spend for screens.

“Keep those conversations going,” he said. “Keep exploring new behaviors that will put them on track to have a successful school year in August.”

Research has shown that even moderate screen time is associated with lower psychological well-being in adolescents. And heavy use has been linked to deteriorated mental health, poor sleep, increased behavioral problems and decreased academic performance.

Disclosure: Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on childhood issues, health problems and smoking prevention. If you want to support news in the public interest, click here.

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